14 Employees Lose Jobs Over Orange Shirts
March 19, 2012 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (UPI) — Fourteen employees of a Deerfield Beach, Fla., law firm say they found themselves out of jobs after management mistook their orange shirts for a protest.
The employees told the South Florida Sun Sentinel they all wore orange on payday Fridays so they would look like a group when they went out for happy hour later. After a few months of this ritual, management called all of them into a conference room Friday.
An executive at the law firm told the employees he understood the orange shirts to constitute a protest and anyone participating in this protest would be fired. The executive told anyone wearing orange for an innocent reason to speak up, and one person stood up to explain the happy hour ritual. The management left the room to discuss the matter.
All 14 employees were still fired.
“There’s no office policy against wearing orange shirts. We had no warning,” said paralegal Lou Erik Ambert, who was among those fired. “We got no severance, no package, no nothing. I feel so violated.”
The law firm declined to comment. Labor lawyer Eric K. Gabrielle said because Florida is an at-will employment state, an employer can fire someone “for a good reason, for a bad reason or even for the wrong reason, as long as it’s not an unlawful reason.”
“No violation of the law jumps out,” Gabrielle said.